The Sounds of Heaven

The ears of the rich are provided with the music of bells, drums, flageolets and flutes; and their mouths are stuffed with the flesh of fed beasts and with wine of the richest flavour; so are their desires satisfied, till they forget their proper business:– theirs may be pronounced a condition of disorder. Sunk deeply in their self-sufficiency, they resemble individuals ascending a height with a heavy burden on their backs:– their condition may be pronounced one of bitter suffering. They covet riches, thinking to derive comfort from them; they covet power, and would fain monopolise it; when quiet and retired, they are drowned in luxurious indulgence; their persons seem to shine, and they are full of boasting:– they may be said to be in a state of disease. In their desire to be rich and striving for gain, they fill their stores, and, deaf to all admonition, refuse to desist from their course. They are even more elated, and hold on their way:– their conduct may be pronounced disgraceful. When their wealth is amassed till they cannot use it, they clasp it to their breasts and will not part with it; when their hearts are distressed with their very fulness, they still seek for more and will not desist:– their condition may be said to be sad. In-doors they are apprehensive of pilfering and begging thieves, and out-of-doors they are afraid of being injured by plundering robbers; in-doors they have many chambers and partitions, and out-of-doors they do not dare to go alone: they may be said to be in a state of (constant) alarm.

Mythic Ideals and the Spiritual Self

conception of self (perceived-real-ideal-mythic)

Person-centered therapy is characterized as non-directive because it believes that all people have the potential to solve their own problems without direct intervention from the therapist. Through the therapist’s attitudes of genuine caring, prizing, respect, acceptance, and understanding, the client’s are able to loosen their defenses and rigid perceptions and move to a higher level of personal functioning (Corey, 1995).

Rogers believed that people must be fully honest with themselves. In addition, he thought that a fundamental function of the counselor was to facilitate the personal discovery of the client; hence resulting in Rogers’conception of the self (aka self-concept) – a triangle.

The three sides of the triangle are composed of the Perceived Self (how person sees self & and others see them) . The Real Self (how person really is). And the Ideal Self (how person would like to be).

In Rogers’ triangle, the ideal serves as the base of the triangle which supports the two other more external elements of the self – the perceived and the real.This demonstrates that Rogers thinks that the ideal self is at the core in which all else is built from. Nonetheless, throughout humanism there is agreement on each person’s search for wholeness, a quest ground in the self-actualization process.

Thus, Rogers believed that people enter counseling in a state of incongruence, or a point at which a discrepancy exists between the individual’s self-perception and their experiences in reality. This means that the person is experiencing conflict between their perceived and real self. In fact, Rogers(1961) would often find himself utilizing the same phrase during his counseling sessions. The phrase was as follows, “So, you find it hard to believe that they would love and accept you if they knew who you really were.”

In addition, Rogers commented on the self, the concept of self, and self-structure as follows: “These terms refer to the organized, consistent, conceptual Gestalt composed of perceptions of the characteristics of the I or me and the relationships of the I or me to others and to various aspects of life, together with the values attached to these perceptions. It is a Gestalt available to awareness although not necessarily in awareness. It is a fluid and changing process, but at any given moment it . . . is at least partially defined in operational terms” (Rogers, 1984).

The “ideal self” as the “mythic self“:

Heraklitos, the pre-Socratic philosopher, posits that strife is the eternal creator. All is always becoming. Nothing ever truly is. The logos sets it all in motion and gives birth to the order that emerges through chaos. Thus, as Heriklitos so eloquently puts it, “One can never step twice into the same river.” Not only is the river changed, but you are changed as well.

Plato also embraces this idea, but for him, the material/physical world is always in a state of flux. For him, logos means quite the opposite of what it meant to Heraklitos (also spelled Heraclitus). To Plato’s mind, Logos constitutes the world of Form where Truth expresses a state of immutable Oneness.

Carl Jung then takes this idea and broadens it to describe the “Collective Unconscious” that he considers the metastructure, or the architecture, of the psyche. This collective unconscious, Jung believes, is the mythic structure that provides the foundation of consciousness. His writing explores how people from all times and all places share core myths that become the underpinnings of consciousness, culture, and communication. For Jung, these archetypes comprise the mythic unconscious and express themselves in our dreams and in the stories we tell (think literature, fairy tales, movies, news, etc.). Stories that have an archetypal structure strike a chord in our conscious lives as well as in our unconscious minds.

“We are the stories we hear and the stories we tell.”

Early mythology is peopled with kings paranoid about losing their power who feel compelled to destroy whomever threatens to usurp the throne, even if it means devouring their own offspring. Likewise, many siblings compete for power, and in their efforts to seize power, demonstrate every sort of travesty imaginable.

Oppression always backfires ultimately, though. It works in the beginning but soon becomes too much, and a hero emerges to right the wrong.

The Tao of The Tao

fractal chao-taijitu

There is right and left, relationships and their consequences, divisions and disagreements, emulations and contentions. These are known as the eight Virtues.

The sage will not speak of what is beyond the boundaries of the universe — though he will not deny it either. What is within the universe, he says something about but does not pronounce upon.

Chuang Tzu – The Tao of Nature

Social Knowledge and Expert Knowledge

star field

Note: In discussion of this entry posted here, one Marxist-Leninist-Maoist comrade shared this link explaining the concept of the Mass Line and Mass Perspective with me, which I think is vital to the following post. My central argument remains that mass debate and argumentation among socialists, among the masses, and among the socialists and the masses is more valuable than theoretical purity derived from perfect implementation of Marx’s dialectical materialist analytical method. In other words spending our time and effort perfecting our analysis is a waste of time and we should be trying to disrupt capitalist false consciousness on a global, mass scale — the same scale that the capitalist system uses to reproduce that false consciousness, as the global informational environment system. Ideology is important. 

Expert theory is necessary, but it isn’t everything, and it doesn’t universally supersede mass praxis. In fact it doesn’t transcend that praxis. Theory is only meaningful as it is integrated with praxis.

This is why I say that the Socratic Dialectic, applied at every social scale, is more vital than the Dialectic of Marx and Hegel.

If a revolution can’t succeed unless the masses of actors in that revolution had not consumed and contemplated at least Capital, but as is usually claimed, much more on top of that, and even further specialized sectarian literature from this or that sect or tendency — then no revolution will ever succeed.

And that expert theoretical knowledge should universally determine leadership defies the reality of not just necessity of bottom up self leadership by the unacademic masses themselves, but also privileges philosophical models of reality which may shadow reality, but do not exist as a true representation of reality at all.

As above, I think truer conclusions of reality, its processes and systems, and relationships and conditions, will emerge not from narrow exclusive application of extremely specific analytical methods as pure models of the material and social world, but from the reasoned comparison and empirical testing of a plurality of such models and others which don’t have the weight of support of the entrenched intellectual hegemons of the left.

The book is in the world, whether or not it is “of” it. The world is NOT within the book. The world has to perpetually be responded to with as much critical conscious effort as every single revolutionary political activist can reasonably muster. There is no one-size fits all conclusion, or method of analysis. There is only the truth, which exists independent of human faculties of perception and reason — but which we might pursue through those two powers and additionally the social power of argumentation.

We shouldn’t, as largely middle class and “sufficiently educated” radicals, marginalize the experiences and knowledge of all the rest of humanity because it doesn’t conform to our abstract formulas and models, our vanguard so-called “science”, and so on. In fact, as I’ve pointed out before in a few Marxist discussion spaces to underwhelming response, the actual, real existing scientific method is an empirical variation of the Socratic Dialectic, not the Marxist or Hegelian one. In terms of true, actual science, the second Dialectic is almost completely meaningless and arbitrary.

One response to that point I have received is that scientific socialism is itself a myth, and that socialism is not and never has been scientific. This was a defense of Marx’s Dialectic. Well I think socialism SHOULD be scientific, or at least the intellectual cadres or vanguards or whomever is engaged in the more philosophical or historical side of socialism should do everything in their power to apply empirical or scientific methods generally to their analysis, but my main point is this — there is no pure political consciousness.

The political consciousness of each sectarian vanguard can only remain pure if it remains untouched by the forces of the actual world. Social reality will absolutely transform whichever theory you use to try to change it. Because that’s how science fucking works.

This is a defense of democracy, I might add. We should engage with the masses of humanity in a democratic way, bring our precious theory and arguments to them, and in the crucible of actual collective social existence, mutually forge a new, modern, and appropriate political consciousness within the minds of everyone involved in that people’s discussion.

This top down, rule by experts, type of socialism is something I don’t simply reject on obscure philosophical principle, but because I believe in fundamental terms that it will fail.

I believe in actual people’s power, and that sometimes I feel like an outsider within socialist discussion because of that belief makes me very suspicious and apprehensive about the form an expert dominated revolution might take.

On that note, I do appreciate philosophy and the insight it brings, even though I am not an expert, or a scholar of philosophy. Following is an idea maybe only obliquely related to the above that occurred to me earlier tonight while I was walking:

I’m more concerned with the actual past than documented history. The past is here now. We are the past becoming the future. Between the past and future, the present is all we experience, but it barely even exists except in relation to those two unified forces. We don’t directly experience the present at all, and to the extent that we do, indirectly, it is such a tiny sampling rate as to be effectively nothing. Meaning exists as the collective, and the total experience — and individually, in mutual relation to the whole. The isolated individual loses connection to their meaning which is why isolation is a hell. In other words, we exist only together, as All.

So fuck private ownership of social property.